Yesterday, Google will soon shut down the service Google Answers. Later this week, they will stop accepting new questions and they will stop accepting new Answers to questions by the end of the year. The existing Qs and As will however be available.
This decision comes one week after Yahoo! announced the merge of Yahoo! Search and Yahoo! Answers. I believe that the main reason why Google Answers didn´t succeed as compared to Yahoo! Answers is that it is a charging service. People are not willing to pay to get an answer to a question that they can get for free just by using Google or Yahoo! powerful search engines. This might explain the success of free question-answer services that mainly rely on users who can ask and answer each other questions (the wisdom of the crowd) such as Yahoo! Answers, its German version Yahoo Clever, or Amazon´s Askville.
I even argue against the success of the free question-answer services e.g. Yahoo! Answers. To be honest, if I have an open question, especially if it´s a question related to my work, I would not post it to Yahoo! Answers or Amazon´s Askville and wait for hours or maybe days and weeks to get an answer that might not meet my expectations. I would rather use Google or Yahoo! main search engine which are getting increasingly better to get a quick answer, or directly ask someone that I know s/he might have the answer. Additionally, I would not waste time to browse through the questions posted and answer them even if know the answer. I think Yahoo! is aware of this problem, that´s why they are hardly trying to give a push to Yahoo! Answers by e.g. including search results from the Yahoo! Answers page to the main Yahoo! search page.